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Title IX: Virtual Reference Room

This Virtual Reference Room is a guide which provides a broad overview of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and links to resources on related topics.

From the White House: Title IX at 40

Fact Sheet

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination against students and employees at educational institutions. It states that

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Title IX applies to high school athletics, prohibiting sex discrimination against female and male student athletes. Although significant improvements toward gender equity have been made since 1972, Title IX is still necessary and relevant today. High school girls face continued discrimination in scheduling, equipment, facilities, and overall participation opportunities. Currently, girls comprise 49 percent of the nation’s high school population, but they only account for 41 percent of high school athletes.

Who Does Title IX Protect?

Title IX applies to male and female staff and students in any educational institution that receives federal financial assistance. These institutions include local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, libraries, museums, vocational rehabilitation agencies, and education agencies.

What Does Title IX Require for Athletics?

Under Title IX, schools must:

  • Offer female and male students equal opportunities to play sports;
  • Treat female and male athletes equally in all respects, including equitable equipment, facilities, and coaching; and
  • Give female and male athletes fair shares of athletic scholarships.

A school can demonstrate that it is providing equal participation opportunities by showing that

  • The percentage of female and male athletes is proportional to the percentage of female and male students enrolled in the school;
  • The school has a history and continuing practice of expanding opportunities for the underrepresented sex; or
  • The school is fully and effectively meeting the athletics interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.

A school can demonstrate that it treats female and male athletes equally in other respects in nine areas:

  • Equipment, supplies, and uniforms
  • Practice and game schedules and seasons
  • Travel and transportation for games, matches, and meets
  • Opportunity to receive coaching
  • Compensation for coaches
  • Lockers and facilities
  • Medical and training facilities
  • Housing and dining facilities
  • Publicity

Additionally, every school must have a Title IX coordinator who responsible for managing a high school’s efforts to comply with its obligations under Title IX and the Title IX regulations, including coordinating the investigations of complaints received regarding Title IX and its regulations. Title IX regulations require that the names and contact information of each Title IX coordinator be made known to all students and employees of the high school.

Why Does Title IX Matter for High School Female Athletes?

AAUW believes that expansion of athletic opportunities for girls and women must continue at both the high school and college levels. Studies repeatedly show that

  • Girls thrive when they participate in sports and are less likely to get pregnant, drop out of school, use drugs, smoke, or develop depression.
  • Girls who participate in sports develop a strong work ethic and good school habits. Graduation rates are significantly higher for female athletes (68 percent) than for female students in general (59 percent).
  • Participation in sports teaches women important professional lessons that have lifelong effects. Eighty percent of women identified as key leaders in Fortune 500 companies played sports while growing up, and so did 82 percent of executive businesswomen, a majority of whom said the lessons they learned on the playing field contributed to their success.
  • Athletics offer many students a ticket to higher education because the opportunity to play sports helps many middle- and low-income students—who may otherwise be unable to attend college—compete for scholarships and/or admission.
  • Organized sports enhance the educational experience by providing opportunities for leadership, teamwork, and competition.
  • Organized sports offer personal contacts with adults who can provide guidance and support, which are beneficial at both secondary and postsecondary levels.

A recent report by the Women’s Sports Foundation entitled Her Life Depends on It found that:

Physical activity and sport [are] fundamental solutions for many of the serious health and social problems faced by girls. These include obesity, heart disease, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression—which accounts for much of the more than $1 trillion spent on healthcare for treating these issues.

A special section of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports also details the benefits of sports participation in school.

This factsheet prepared by:

Getting Ready for Title IX

Civic Engagement Diaglogue Series

Prep Questions

  1. What is TItle IX? Why is it called Title IX? What is the history of "titles" in general?
  2. Is Title IX connected to me? If so, then how?
  3. What do I need to know to be a part of this dialogue series?
    • How can this diaglogue series help me become more politically aware and join the conversation
    • Are there simple steps to developing these "civic muscles" without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated?
  4. Are there articles, laws, documentaries, or other sources to help me understand Title IX enough to more readily engage in exploring the complexities and issues or controversies regarding this title? Is there a relationship to earlier established titles such as:  Titles II, V, VI, and VII? How can I make enough sense out of these legal acts to talk to my peers and others?
    • Tell me about the SSU Library's Virtual Reference Room and how to access interdisciplinary sources.
    • How much time (reading/viewing) does it take to get up to speed?
  5. What is the history of Title IX on the SSU campus? What are the "pros" and the "cons" from varying perspectives?
    • Are there particular event I should be aware of? Was our campus divided? How did these events affect students, staff, and faculty?
    • Where do we stand today regarding Title IX and other pertinent titles regarding fairness, rights, and social justice?
    • Are there controversies regarding the division of money and resources and how can I best understand the key philosophical differences and arguments?

Other Title IX Factsheets

Here are some links to other websites that explain the basics of Title IX.


The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

A federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), and religion in employment, education, and access to public facilities and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels. The employment provisions of the law are often referred to as "Title VII," based on their location in the U.S. Code.

Source:  Nolo LAW for ALL